Ngoc Son Temple: Explore the Beauty of Hanoi’s Iconic Temple

5/5 - (6 votes)

Nestled on a small island in Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple stands as a testament to Hanoi’s rich cultural heritage. This iconic temple, meaning Temple of the Jade Mountain, is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the captivating city of Hanoi, Vietnam. With its elegant architecture, serene atmosphere, and historical significance, Ngoc Son Temple offers a glimpse into the country’s traditions and beliefs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll embark on a journey to discover the beauty and allure of this captivating landmark.

Ngoc Son Temple
Ngoc Son Temple

Where is Ngoc Son Temple, How to Get There?

Location of Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple graces the tranquil waters of Hoan Kiem Lake, located in the heart of Hanoi Old Quarter. Its prominent position on the lake’s central island makes it easily recognizable and accessible. The temple’s address is Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.

Transportation Options to Ngoc Son Temple

Hanoi offers numerous transportation options for reaching Ngoc Son Temple:

  • Walking: The temple is within walking distance from many of the Old Quarter’s popular attractions, including the Thang Long Imperial Citadel and the Hanoi Opera House. This allows you to experience the vibrant atmosphere of the city streets.
  • Public Transportation: The Hanoi bus system is a convenient and affordable option. Several bus routes pass near the temple. Look for routes 34, 35, 47, 49, 50, and 55.
  • Taxi: Taxis are readily available throughout Hanoi. They offer a comfortable and direct route to the temple, especially if you have luggage or prefer a quicker commute.
  • Motorbike: Hanoi’s streets are filled with motorbikes, which offer an exciting way to navigate the city. You can hire a motorbike taxi, known as a xe om, or rent your own for greater flexibility.

Directions to Ngoc Son Temple

Once you’re in the Old Quarter, finding Ngoc Son Temple is relatively straightforward. Here’s a simple route:

  1. From the center of the Old Quarter, walk towards Hoan Kiem Lake.
  2. Look for the lake’s iconic red bridge, known as The Huc Bridge.
  3. The bridge leads directly to the island where Ngoc Son Temple is located.

Opening Hours and Entrance Fee to Ngoc Son Temple

Operating Hours of Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple welcomes visitors with the following opening hours:

Day Opening Hours
Daily 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Admission Fee for Ngoc Son Temple

The entrance fee for Ngoc Son Temple is relatively affordable:

  • Adults: 30,000 VND (approximately $1.30 USD)
  • Children (under 1.2 meters): Free

Special Discounts or Promotions

It’s best to check for any available discounts or promotions directly with the temple staff or on official tourism websites.

Explore Ngoc Son Temple

History of Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple history
Ngoc Son Temple history

Ngoc Son Temple boasts a rich history dating back to 1831 during the reign of Emperor Minh Mang. It was originally built to honor the deity Tran Vu, a guardian deity of the North. Later, the temple was dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao, a renowned military leader who defended Vietnam against the Mongol invasions in the 13th century. The temple’s name, Ngoc Son, was given by Emperor Tu Duc in 1865.

Significant Features of Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple showcases exquisite architectural details that beautifully blend traditional Vietnamese and Chinese styles. Some of the temple’s notable features include:

  • The Huc Bridge: This iconic red bridge, meaning Morning Sun, connects the mainland to the island housing the temple. Its elegant design and vibrant color add a touch of charm to the temple’s entrance.
  • The Thap Rua Tower: Meaning Turtle Tower, this structure stands on a small islet near the temple. It’s said to be a shrine dedicated to a giant turtle, believed to be a manifestation of a dragon god, which inhabited the lake.
  • Tran Ba Pavilion: This pavilion sits on the island, offering visitors stunning views of Hoan Kiem Lake and the surrounding cityscape.

Cultural Significance of Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple plays a significant role in Vietnamese culture and tradition. It’s a place of reverence and worship, where locals and visitors alike come to pray for good fortune, peace, and prosperity. The temple’s annual festivals, especially during the Lunar New Year, are vibrant events filled with cultural performances, traditional ceremonies, and festive decorations.

Nghi Mon Gate

The Nghi Mon Gate serves as the grand entrance to the temple complex. This imposing gate, adorned with intricate carvings and symbolic decorations, marks the transition from the bustling city outside to the serene sanctuary within.

Long Mon Ho Bang Gate

Long Mon Ho Bang Gate
Long Mon Ho Bang Gate

Located inside the Nghi Mon Gate, the Long Mon Ho Bang Gate further guides visitors into the temple’s inner sanctum. This gate, often overlooked, is an integral part of the temple’s architectural design and symbolizes the transition from the outer world to the sacred space within.

Dai Nghien Gate

Dai Nghien Gate
Dai Nghien Gate

Continuing towards the heart of the temple complex, visitors encounter the Dai Nghien Gate, another significant entranceway. This imposing gate, often adorned with Chinese characters, signifies the transition from the outer courtyard to the inner sanctum, where the main shrine is located.

The Huc Bridge

The Huc Bridge
The Huc Bridge

The Huc Bridge is the most iconic feature of Ngoc Son Temple. Its striking red color and unique design make it a cherished landmark in Hanoi. The bridge symbolizes the connection between the earthly world and the spiritual realm, representing the journey from the everyday to the sacred.

Dac Nguyet Lau Gate

Dac Nguyet Lau Gate
Dac Nguyet Lau Gate

As you enter Ngoc Son Temple, the Dac Nguyet Lau Gate welcomes you into the inner courtyard. This gate, characterized by its elegant design and intricate carvings, leads to the main shrine and the Thap Rua Tower.

Thap Rua Tower

Thap Rua Tower
Thap Rua Tower

The Thap Rua Tower, also known as the Turtle Tower, stands on a small islet near the temple. This octagonal tower is dedicated to a giant turtle, believed to be a manifestation of a dragon god. The tower serves as a reminder of the temple’s history and the spiritual significance of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Tran Ba Pavilion

Nestled within the temple grounds, the Tran Ba Pavilion offers breathtaking views of Hoan Kiem Lake and the surrounding cityscape. This pavilion, with its elegant design and traditional Vietnamese architecture, provides a tranquil spot for contemplation and relaxation.

The Main Area of the Temple

The main area of the temple houses the shrine dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao. This sacred space is adorned with ornate carvings, traditional statues, and offerings. Visitors can pay their respects, offer prayers, and experience the temple’s spiritual aura.

Attractions Near Ngoc Son Temple

Attractions Near Ngoc Son Temple
Attractions Near Ngoc Son Temple

Nearby Landmarks and Attractions

The Old Quarter in Hanoi boasts a wealth of attractions within easy walking distance from Ngoc Son Temple:

  • Hoan Kiem Lake: The temple’s serene setting on Hoan Kiem Lake provides a tranquil escape from the city’s bustling energy. The lake itself is a popular destination for locals and tourists, offering opportunities for boat rides, strolls along the promenade, and scenic views.
  • Thang Long Imperial Citadel: This UNESCO World Heritage Site, located near Hoan Kiem Lake, was the ancient capital of Vietnam. Excavations have unearthed remnants of the citadel, offering a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s historical past.
  • Hanoi Opera House: This iconic building, designed in a French colonial style, is a cultural hub for performances and events. Visitors can marvel at its elegant architecture and enjoy performances by talented artists.
  • The Old Quarter: This historic area with its charming narrow streets, bustling markets, and diverse architecture is a must-visit destination. Visitors can explore the traditional shops, sample local delicacies, and experience Hanoi’s vibrant city life.

Activities to Do Around Ngoc Son Temple

Beyond just sightseeing, there are a variety of activities to enjoy near Ngoc Son Temple:

  • Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake: Take a relaxing walk around Hoan Kiem Lake and admire the temple’s beauty from a different perspective. The calm waters and scenic surroundings make for a peaceful experience, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the temple and its surroundings.
  • Exploring the Old Quarter: Wander through the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, where you can shop for souvenirs, sample local street food, and immerse yourself in Hanoi’s vibrant culture. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the traditional architecture and unique charm of this historic neighborhood.
  • Visiting Thang Long Water Puppet Theater: Experience the traditional art of water puppetry at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, located near Ngoc Son Temple. This captivating cultural performance showcases Vietnam’s rich heritage and is a must-see attraction for visitors of all ages.

Best Time to Visit Neighboring Attractions

The best time to visit neighboring attractions near Ngoc Son Temple largely depends on personal preferences and interests. However, here are some general recommendations:

  • Early Morning: Start your day with a visit to Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake in the early morning when the air is fresh, and the crowds are minimal. This is an ideal time for quiet contemplation and serene walks around the temple grounds.
  • Late Afternoon: As the day winds down, consider exploring the Old Quarter and nearby landmarks like the Thang Long Imperial Citadel. The late afternoon offers cooler temperatures and softer light, creating a picturesque setting for sightseeing and photography.
  • Evening: Wrap up your day by attending a performance at the Hanoi Opera House or enjoying a leisurely dinner at one of the local restaurants near Ngoc Son Temple. The evening ambiance in Hanoi is lively and vibrant, making it a perfect time to soak in the city’s cultural offerings.

By planning your itinerary around these time frames, you can make the most of your visit to the attractions near Ngoc Son Temple and create lasting memories of your time in Hanoi.

Restaurants Near Ngoc Son Temple

Local Dining Options Near Ngoc Son Temple

After exploring the sights and sounds of Ngoc Son Temple and its surroundings, you may find yourself craving a delicious meal. Fortunately, there are several local dining options near the temple that offer a taste of authentic Vietnamese cuisine:

  • Bun Cha Dac Kim: This renowned restaurant is famous for its Bun Cha, a traditional Vietnamese dish consisting of grilled pork served with noodles and fresh herbs. Located a short distance from Ngoc Son Temple, Bun Cha Dac Kim is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.
  • Pho Thin: If you’re in the mood for Vietnam’s iconic noodle soup, Pho Thin is the place to go. This cozy eatery near the temple serves up steaming bowls of Pho Hanoi, made with flavorful broth, tender beef slices, and fragrant herbs.
  • Banh Mi 25: For a quick and satisfying snack, head to Banh Mi 25 for a taste of Vietnam’s famous sandwich. This street-side stall offers a variety of Banh Mi fillings, from savory meats to fresh vegetables, all tucked into a crispy baguette.

Popular Dishes to Try Near Ngoc Son Temple

When dining near Ngoc Son Temple, be sure to sample some of the local specialties that showcase the diverse flavors of Vietnamese cuisine:

  • Cha Ca La Vong: This Hanoi specialty features grilled fish marinated in turmeric and dill, served with rice noodles, peanuts, and fresh herbs. Cha Ca La Vong is a flavorful and aromatic dish that captures the essence of Northern Vietnamese cooking.
  • Goi Cuon: These fresh spring rolls are filled with shrimp, pork, vermicelli noodles, and herbs, wrapped in rice paper and served with a dipping sauce. Goi Cuon is a light and refreshing appetizer that’s perfect for warm days in Hanoi.
  • Bun Bo Nam Bo: A southern Vietnamese dish popular in Hanoi, Bun Bo Nam Bo consists of stir-fried beef, vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, herbs, and roasted peanuts, topped with a sweet and tangy sauce. This flavorful and satisfying meal is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Budget-Friendly Eateries in the Vicinity

If you’re looking for affordable dining options near Ngoc Son Temple, consider visiting these budget-friendly eateries:

  • Com Ga Xoi Mo: This humble eatery specializes in Com Ga (chicken rice), a simple yet delicious dish featuring tender poached chicken served over fragrant rice. Com Ga Xoi Mo offers generous portions at wallet-friendly prices, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious diners.
  • Bun Bo Hue: For a taste of Central Vietnamese cuisine without breaking the bank, try Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef noodle soup that packs a flavorful punch. This hearty dish is a satisfying meal option for those seeking a budget-friendly dining experience near Ngoc Son Temple.
  • Xoi Yen: If you’re in the mood for sticky rice dishes, Xoi Yen is the place to go. This cozy eatery offers a variety of Xoi (sticky rice) options, topped with savory ingredients like shredded chicken, Chinese sausage, or fried shallots. Xoi Yen’s affordable prices and comforting dishes make it a popular spot for locals and travelers alike.

Whether you’re craving a hearty meal, a quick snack, or a culinary adventure, the restaurants near Ngoc Son Temple have something to satisfy every palate and budget.


Visiting Ngoc Son Temple and its surrounding attractions is a memorable experience that offers insight into Vietnam’s rich history, culture, and traditions. To make the most of your visit, keep the following notes in mind:

  • Respect the Temple’s Rules and Customs: When visiting Ngoc Son Temple, remember to dress modestly and behave respectfully. Remove your shoes before entering the temple buildings, avoid loud conversations, and follow any posted guidelines to show reverence for this sacred site.
  • Learn About the Historical Significance: Take the time to learn about the history and significance of Ngoc Son Temple, as well as the stories behind its architectural features and cultural practices. Understanding the context of the temple will enhance your appreciation of its beauty and importance.

Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure a meaningful and respectful visit to Ngoc Son Temple, avoid the following common mistakes:

  • Not Respecting the Temple’s Rules and Customs: Failure to adhere to the temple’s rules, such as proper attire and behavior, can be seen as disrespectful and offensive. Make sure to follow the guidelines and show reverence for the sacred space.
  • Disregarding the Historical Significance of Ngoc Son Temple: Ngoc Son Temple has a rich history and cultural heritage that deserves recognition and respect. By overlooking or dismissing the temple’s significance, visitors miss out on valuable insights into Vietnam’s past and traditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Visitors Take Photographs Inside Ngoc Son Temple?

While photography is allowed in certain areas of Ngoc Son Temple, it’s essential to be mindful of the surroundings and other visitors. Respect any signage or instructions regarding photography restrictions, especially in sensitive or sacred areas of the temple.

Are There Guided Tours Available at Ngoc Son Temple?

Yes, guided tours of Ngoc Son Temple are available for visitors who wish to learn more about the temple’s history, architecture, and cultural significance. Professional guides can provide valuable insights and enhance your overall experience of the temple complex.

Is There a Dress Code for Visiting Ngoc Son Temple?

While there isn’t a strict dress code for visiting Ngoc Son Temple, it’s recommended to dress modestly out of respect for the religious nature of the site. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or beachwear, and opt for conservative attire that covers shoulders and knees.


Ngoc Son Temple stands as a symbol of Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage and spiritual traditions. From its stunning architecture to its serene surroundings, the temple offers visitors a glimpse into the country’s past and present. By exploring the history, significance, and features of Ngoc Son Temple, visitors can deepen their understanding of Vietnamese culture and spirituality. Whether you’re seeking a moment of tranquility, a taste of local cuisine, or a journey through history, Ngoc Son Temple and its neighboring attractions provide a truly immersive experience in the heart of Hanoi. Plan your visit thoughtfully, respect the temple’s customs, and savor the beauty and serenity that await you at Ngoc Son Temple.

Reserve Now